May 30, 2023


Still Time: Contact the Governor TODAY to Support Suicide Prevention & Firearm Safety

H.230 was delivered to the Governor on Friday, May 26th – that means he has until tomorrow, Wednesday, May 31st to decide if he will sign the bill in to law, let the bill go in to law without his signature or veto it. That also means that there is still time to contact his office!

The bill includes:

  1. A 72-hour waiting period for the purchase of firearms;
  2. Penalties if a firearm is not safely stored in homes with children or prohibited persons and is used in a crime or in a threatening manner; and
  3. The ability for family members to petition for extreme risk protection orders.

Now is the time to contact the Governor and ask for him to allow H.230 to go in to law.  You can contact the Governor by calling his office at 802-828-3333 or sending a message HERE

See talking points presented in testimony by Becca Bell, MD, here as well as the letter of support sent from VMS and partner specialty societies earlier this session.

Governor Scott Signs H. 222, Clearing Path to Distribute Opioid Settlement Dollars

Last Thursday, Governor Phil Scott announced his signing of H.222, An act relating to reducing overdoses.  When signing H.222, Governor Scott issued the following statement:  “As we continue to lose far too many Vermonters – mothers, fathers, children, siblings and friends – to the crisis of opioid addiction, we know we must continue to do more,” said Governor Scott. “We must keep building on what we know works and address barriers to treatment, housing, and other supports, with a focus on saving lives. I appreciate the legislature for their collaboration with my team, and their work to bring this bill across the finish line.”

The initiatives in H.222 represent the first to be funded by Opioid Settlement Abatement Funds, which were secured through litigation that held pharmaceutical distributors responsible for supplying addictive opioids. Vermont is expected to receive funds through this settlement for close to 18 years. Funding recommendations were made by the Opioid Settlement Advisory Committee, representing state staff, legislators, community providers, municipalities, and individuals with lived experience. These recommendations were supported by Governor Scott and the Legislature.

Among other things, H.222:

  • makes Narcan more available and eliminates potential barriers to the administration of Narcan;
  • facilitates access to treatment with buprenorphine and other Substance Use Disorder medications by reducing the use of prior authorization and step-therapy by payers;
  • allows continued use of telehealth for prescribing buprenorphine;
  • codifies the decriminalization of personal amounts of un-prescribed buprenorphine, an identified bridge into treatment and services;
  • facilitates the disposal of unused needles and syringes through an expansion of the unused prescription drug disposal program;
  • allows substance recovery residences of up to 8-people to be treated as a permitted single family residential use of property, an important step to increase access to residential recovery options;
  • expands Hub treatment sites for MAT treatment in several underserved areas of the state;
  • funds outreach staff through the provider network to identify and work with individuals with substance use disorder in non-traditional settings and facilitate connections with peer networks; and
  • allocates funding to current harm reduction strategies like fentanyl test strips and xylazine test strips when those come to market.

CDC Urges Removal of Intrusive Credentialing Questions

Last week, in recognition of Mental Health Action Day, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Dr. Lorna Breen Heroes’ Foundation jointly invited every hospital to remove one of the most substantial organizational barriers to healthcare workers’ wellbeing—intrusive mental health questions on credentialing applications.

The statement released emphasized that these questions were often added to credentialing applications with good intent to protect the public and mitigate risk. However, there is no data demonstrating that these questions protect the public, and it is well-documented that they often lead to healthcare workers not seeking care.  In fact, The Joint Commission does not require organizations to ask about a worker’s mental health history and encourages them to not do so.   NIOSH and the Lorna Breen Foundation refers hospitals to a toolkit for removing intrusive questions and urges them to begin with auditing all credentialing applications, addendums, and peer review forms, and changing or removing questions to 1) address all mental and physical health conditions as one, with no added explanations, asterisks, or fine print; 2) refrain from asking questions about health altogether; or 3) implement an attestation model with supportive language around mental health. 

For more information or assistance implementing this process at a facility where you work, contact   

Interest in Participating in Montpelier Alive’s 2023 July 3rd Parade with the VMS

The VMS is trying to gain insight on whether VMS members, Specialty Society Members, and their families would be interested in participating as a  “walk and wave”  group for the Montpelier Alive's 2023 July 3rd parade. The theme for this year’s parade is "Resilience” and we know that Vermont’s health care professionals have demonstrated resilience like no other!

A "walk and wave" is when a group of people holding a banner or signs simply walk and wave at the crowd while marching in the parade.

Complete the interest survey here.

Please note, the VMS has not committed to participating in the event, but just wants to gain insight on if we have enough interest to register.


Commissioner of Health Public Health Update This Thursday, June 1st 

The next Public Health Update call with Commissioner of Health Mark Levine, MD will be this Thursday on June 1st at 12:30 pm. Hear about the the most pressing public health information affecting the state and nation and have the opportunity to submit questions to Dr. Levine who will answer them, time-permitting. You can view the notes from the May 4, 2023 call here.

You can join the zoom meetings here.

Hepatitis C Treatment in Hubs

The Vermont Medicaid program proposes to allow Opioid Treatment Programs (Hubs) to provide Hepatitis C screening, assessment, diagnosis, and treatment services to patients receiving Hub services. This includes physician evaluation of the patient, lab tests to diagnose and monitor treatment, Hepatitis C antiviral drug therapy, and post-treatment follow-up. It is expected that this change will improve access, treatment, and health outcomes for one of Vermont's most at risk populations of people who inject drugs and are in Medication Assisted Treatment. The State expects individual Hub providers to enroll with VT Medicaid by July 1, 2023. Comments on the proposal are due to Medicaid by June 26, 2023.  Read more here.

BCBSVT Offers Lifestyle Medicine Training and Board Certification Scholarships

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont, in partnership with the American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM) and the American Board of Lifestyle Medicine (ABLM), is offering Lifestyle Medicine training and board certification to our clinical provider network through a unique scholarship program. ACLM/ABLM Certification typically costs over $2500 per provider, but BCBSVT is funding fifty (50) awards free of charge to eligible healthcare clinicians who are interested in pursuing a high level of professional training in lifestyle medicine and who are committed to the expansion of lifestyle medicine education, programs and initiatives to better serve their patients.

Learn more here. With questions or to apply for one of the scholarship awards, email Keri LeCompte at, BCBTVT Program Director for Lifestyle Medicine.



Upcoming Community Rounds Workshop Series Session:

Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants as Buprenorphine Providers: Facilitators and Barriers

May 31st from 12pm to 1:00pm


This presentation will describe the expansion of nurse practitioners and other advanced practice clinicians into opioid use disorder treatment, particularly in rural communities. It will also explore barriers and facilitators regarding nurse practitioner engagement in buprenorphine treatment, including regulations, education, and broader social factors such as stigma. Specific considerations for advanced practice clinicians' work with members of rural communities will be discussed.

Register and attend to learn more here.

Save the Dates - Preparing for and Delivering Value-Based Care in Rural Communities

June 6th, and June 27th, 2023

The Northern Border Region Technical Assistance Center (NBR-TAC) is pleased to present a four-part webinar series on the journey to Value-Based Care (VBC) for rural hospitals and primary care providers/facilities (FQHC’s/RHC’s) interested in learning more about operating in a value-based care environment. This webinar is open to organizations or individuals interested in this topic who are welcome to attend.

View the topics of the webinar series here.

49th Annual Family Medicine Course

June 6-9, 2023

In-person and Virtual

This intensive four-day program (with optional pre-conference full-day workshop taking place June 5, 2023) for family physicians, advance practice providers, nurses, and other primary care professionals will focus on current issues in the practice of Family Medicine, with special attention to new contributions. Emphasis is on practical, clinically-applicable diagnostic and management issues in primary care.

For more information about our speakers, sessions, accreditation and to register, visit here.

Medical Mutual's 2023 Risk Management Seminar: Workplace Violence in the Healthcare Setting: Mitigating the Risks

June 13, 2023, 12pm to 4:15pm


In a follow-up to last fall’s Medical Mutual Risk Management seminar, Monica Cooke, a behavioral health specialist and nationally-recognized expert on healthcare workplace violence, returns to provide a deeper dive on the subject. This afternoon seminar will include added tips and insights, as well as case studies and group discussions designed to identify effective strategies to de-escalate potentially violent situations and reduce risk.

Learn more and register here.

For more information about offerings from UVM CMIE, visit here.


Vermont Medical Society

134 Main Street

Montpelier, VT 05602

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